09/22/14: Golf Channel’s Molly Solomon sweetens the Ryder Cup; Pundits break down Goodell’s plans; Crest scrubs NFL campaign


Good morning. It’s Monday, September 22, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NBC and Golf Channel tee up this week for the 40th Ryder Cup as Europe and the US square off from Scotland. The two channels will offer 85.5 hours of coverage of the event, beginning with Morning Drive at 7a on Golf Channel. The two outlets will offer competitive action on Friday at 2:30a on Golf Channel and running through the final day on NBC, with features that include Golf Channel’s Ryder Cup Alternate Shot, hosted by David Feherty and Gary Williams, which will complement NBC’s live weekend coverage with discussion and analysis of the matches.

Cynopsis Sports asked Molly Solomon, Executive Producer, Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC, about the networks’ approach and what fans can expect from the production.

Solomon on the important of the Ryder Cup: The Ryder Cup is one of the most spectacular events in all of sports and has a special home with Golf Channel and NBC Sports, which combined will provide more than 85 hours of live coverage this week. As we embark on our newly expanded partnership with the PGA of America, Golf Channel’s and NBC’s high-quality coverage will bring fans closer to the action, passion and unique atmosphere surrounding the Ryder Cup like never before. And since this year’s event will mark the first time Golf Channel will have coverage of the Day 1 matches, this is a special moment in the nearly 20-year history of the network.
On challenges/opportunities: Covering an international event, especially one staged outside where sunlight dictates the start and finish time, has its inherent challenges.  However, for the first-time from a Ryder Cup hosted in Europe, NBC Sports will be providing live coverage of all three days, and will be streaming coverage via Golf Live Extra and NBC Sports Live Extra. The opportunities are endless, including being able to seamlessly transition on Golf Channel to and from live coverage of matches to our pre- and post-game programming, Live From The Ryder Cup. And with a setting in Scotland where the best golfers in America and Europe square-off in a team match-play event, presenting the Ryder Cup is a unique opportunity in not only golf, but in sports.

On Ryder Cup Alternate Shot: Expect the unexpected  especially when you have David Feherty, Lanny Wadkins, David Duval and Justin Leonard together in the studio as they watch the action on Saturday and Sunday. Feherty, who competed for Europe at the 1991 Ryder Cup, the War by the Shore, and now is a proud American citizen is the perfect ringleader for this unique coverage. Alternate Shot is an innovative undertaking for Golf Channel and is aimed to be a complement to NBC’s weekend coverage of the Ryder Cup.  The legends I mentioned will be joined via satellite from Scotland by former European Ryder Cup players and captains, who will analyze and breakdown the action. Ryder Cup Alternate Shot will also incorporate social media and our golf simulator, where Lanny and Duval might try to recreate a great shot that just happened or the strategic approaches different teams take on some of the Ryder Cup holes. This all will not only be an in-depth experience for avid Golf Channel viewer, but via Golf Live Extra, can be a second-screen streaming experience for a fan watching Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller call the action on NBC.


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A blowout game didn’t prevent Thursday Night Football from making gains. Thanks to CBS’ participation this year, CBS and NFL Network’s simulcast saw a primetime win, averaging 11.8 million viewers. While down from week one’s matchup, the game was up 7% from last year’s comparable viewing average of 11.1 million, and scored a 7.5/13, also up 7% from a year ago.

Speaking of the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference on Friday to address domestic violence issues drew media attention with the likes of ESPN, NBCSN and Fox Sports 1, among others, preempting programming to cover it live. Although Goodell apologized and announced plans to require all team personnel and staff to go through training on preventing domestic violence and sexual assault, media pundits were quick on Sunday to offer their own take on the league’s plans:

     CBS’ Bill Cowher: “Where is De Smith with all this? He is Executive Director of the NFLPA. The League has had an image problem. But the players do as well…We’re talking about less than 1% of the players. De Smith, where is his press conference?  Show me the initiatives you want to put forth.  Tell me.  He has an obligation to represent that less than 1%, I agree. Does he not have an obligation to represent the 99% of the League, over 1,600 players, who are also bothered by this image that they are now having?”.

     FOX’ Michael Strahan: “The only thing that matters from here on out are the results; they have committees that have been appointed, what are the results? What are the plans? That’s what everybody wants to see. We all worry about the cover-up, but hopefully this investigation reveals if there was a cover-up or not. Let’s not get lost in everything that we see now. There’s one reason we’re here now and that reason is because of domestic violence, which is an epidemic outside of the NFL, but obviously right now we’re having a battle inside of the NFL that needs to be addressed.”

     ESPN’s Cris Carter: “I like the apology, but I’d like to see a little more emotion about all the people that we had hurt being associated with the National Football League the last couple weeks. I didn’t see any empathy for the victims.”

Anyway, Saturday’s SEC on CBS telecast of broadcast of Alabama’s win over Florida drew an overnight rating/share of 5.1/12, up 70% from last year’s comparable 3.0/7, featuring Tennessee/Florida, according to Nielsen.

ABC saw its coverage of the Clemson/Florida State matchup rank as the highest-rated game of night across all nets, according to the network, drawing a 4.9 overnight score. That is up 58% from the equitable game in week 4 a year ago. Top five markets: Greenville, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Orlando, Charlotte.

Around the dial, ESPN’s highest-rated game of day featured Oregon/Washington State, drawing a 2.1 in overnight numbers.

Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Tom Verducci are slated to call Derek Jeter’s final regular season home game when the Yankees host the Orioles on MLB Network on Thursday at 7p. As part of a tribute to Jeter, the network will feature the likes of Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Jimmie Johnson looking back at Jeter’s career in features leading up to and during MLB Network’s telecast.

Mark Waller, NFL EVP of International, told USA Today Sports that he hopes a team will be settles in London as a permanent home by 2021, noting that the league needs to make a decision in the next two to three years on the next phase of development in his home country. "I don’t think I’ve ever been shy about the fact that I believe we should have a team in the U.K.," Waller said in a phone interview. "I’d be disappointed if we didn’t have a team there (in) another seven years at the most."


Procter & Gamble is nixing a breast cancer awareness promotion the company had slated with the NFL. According to the AP, P&G’s Crest brand had been developing a program with players from each of the NFL’s 32 teams to wear pink mouthguards and participate in other activities to promote the cause. "The brand has decided to cancel on-field activation with NFL teams," said spokesman Paul Fox in a statement. "Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and we have strongly urged the NFL to take swift and decisive action to address this issue… Our decision to cancel this on field activity was related to this ongoing issue."

The University of Nebraska added “enhancements” to its rights agreement with IMG, via a six year extension that will see IMG receive additional sponsorship and digital/social media rights. “We have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from our long partnership with IMG, and we are extremely pleased to have enhanced our relationship moving forward,” said University of Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. “We believe that Nebraska Athletics is one of the premier brands in college athletics, and we are honored to partner with a world-class entity like IMG."


2K Sports will deliver a live highlight and interview show via NBA2K TV that will deliver game news and community-driven content via a live studio television show, according to the NBA. .The series will star Rachel A. DeMita, who will greet players every time they play with the show expected to last about 15 minutes. NBA2K will be released on Oct. 7, which is also when the first live show will premier.


Giants/Dodgers on MLB Network regional action at 10p.

ON THIS DAY in 1990: MLB’s Andre Dawson steals his 300th base and becomes the only player other than Willie Mays to have 300 HRs, 300 steals and 2,000 hits.

In The Know: Before becoming head coach at Michigan State, Mark Dantonio was a head coach at which university? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which NHL player was the last to win back-to-back Hart Memorial Trophies? Answer: Alexander Ovechkin. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Anthony Sedita-DISH Media Sales/NY; Michael Brown-PGA TOUR/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Christine Ferrara-WBZ-TV/WSBK-TV/Boston; Rick Wiener-Harmelin Media/Philadelphia; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
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